The challenge of homophobia

Your report about the fear of challenging homophobia ("Gay teachers less likely to challenge homophobia", 26 July) emphasises that it is even more important that straight teachers openly challenge homophobic language. Unfortunately, this doesn't happen enough, in my experience.

The onus is on principals and governors to ensure that their schools are free from prejudice-based bullying in any form, but this will not happen unless they take a lead and ensure that all staff have better information and training - and, therefore, confidence - to challenge inappropriate language. Furthermore, it is vital for a strong and clear personal, social and health education programme to be central to the ethos of the school to ensure that no staff member, governor, parent or child is in doubt about the school's commitment to equality, diversity and respect for all. From the earliest age, young people should be given the clear message that diversity in society is a reality and diversity in relationships is to be valued and respected. Our young people are the citizens of the future and deserve no less.

Carol Machell, Former principal, West Yorkshire.

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